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Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Bairo group of 1966

12/06/2017: Portugal

A group of 50 people from the Marist Family of Portugal met in Fatima on June 2 and 3 having a double objective: 1) to reflect on the trends of the Institute as the XXII General Chapter is to be celebrated in September-October in Colombia; 2) to share the experience of 50 years of Religious Life of the 1966 group of the then International Novitiate of Bairo. Brothers from Italy, from Switzerland and from Portugal were present at the celebration. Months earlier an Irish Brother who had planned to be present at this meeting passed away.

On the first point, the dialogue took place around FOUR challenges that already exist in the Institute, but can still be further developed:

1) an Institute called to form its members, Brothers and Lay people, so that they may become experts in Evangelization and in the advocacy and promotion of the rights of children and young people;

2) an Institute called to develop an increasingly international dimension in its way of thinking and acting; in passing, reference was made to the second group at San Martino a Monte which is following a course to prepare “new Marists” to create and consolidate the New International Communities;

3) an Institute which welcomes Lay Marists of Champagnat as an integral part of it; passing reference was also made to the document to be presented to the Chapter, TO BE A LAY MARIST, from which one can expect more concrete guidance on aspects such as belonging and bonding of the laity in the Institute;

4) an Institute capable of building a new brotherhood where we all feel called to be PROPHETS AND MYSTICS IN COMMUNION; at the same time reference was made to new mission fields, in particular at the "geographical and existential peripheries" to use the language of Pope Francis repeated in some of Brother Emili's messages; the need for a clear Spirituality for our kind of apostolate was also emphasized – some principles of this Spirituality are clearly stated in Water from the Rock; and the need to work together with other ecclesial groups (Congregations or groups of laity) to strengthen communion in the Church was stressed, to be faithful to the new apostolic intuitions of our new times and to have even greater effectiveness in our ministries.

Concerning the second point - the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Bairo group of 1966 - the celebrant (himself a former Marist Brother) underlined two aspects from the Liturgy.

The first aspect came from the Gospel reading: JOHN TOOK MARY INTO HIS HOUSE. It's not just about physical space. The meaning of the word "house" can and should be broader: Mary being in "my house" acts in the sense that my attitudes are Mary's attitudes; my way of being is inspired by Mary's way of being; my heart and my mind "copy" those of Mary. In so doing we are in the best position to respond to what Brother Emili proposes to all Marists of Champagnat: to be the MARIAN FACE OF THE CHURCH in the world today.

The second aspect came from the reading of the Acts of the Apostles: THEY WERE TOGETHER WITH MARY IN PRAYER. After this communion in prayer the apostles would leave for the mission. And the celebrant concluded: SPIRITUALITY AND MISSION are deeply connected. Mary is a good example of balancing these two aspects: the spirituality of the Annunciation leads Mary to the mission of the Visitation. If Mary is our model we will be more and more people living the (Marist) Spirituality, without ceasing to be deeply committed apostles in our Mission.

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